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Commonwealth ministers to arrive in Maldives Friday

16 February 2012
A Commonwealth ministerial mission is due to arrive in the Maldives capital, Malé, on 17 February to ascertain the facts surrounding the transfer of power last week in the South Asian state.

The group will be led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Communications of Trinidad & Tobago, the Hon Surujrattan Rambachan. He will be accompanied by Hon Dr Dipu Moni, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh and Mr Dennis Richardson AO, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) decided to send the mission as soon as possible when it met by teleconference on 12 February.

Announcing the mission, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, who convened the extraordinary teleconference, said: “This is an important ministerial mission, that is to be seen as part of the Commonwealth's continuing engagement with Maldives. It should also be viewed in the context of the Commonwealth's abiding commitment to its fundamental political values.”

The delegation will hold discussions with key interlocutors on circumstances surrounding the resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed on 7 February 2012. Before it commences its work, it will be briefed by the Commonwealth Secretariat team that has been in the country since 6 February.

The CMAG statement issued after the 12 February teleconference stressed the importance of adherence by member countries to the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values, including constitutional democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights; and in particular, the principle of separation of powers.

The CMAG ministerial mission will be supported by a Commonwealth Secretariat team led by Amitav Banerji, Director of Political Affairs.

CMAG will convene again in extraordinary session next week, to receive and consider the findings of the ministerial mission.

Note to Editors:

CMAG comprises foreign ministers from nine Commonwealth countries and is tasked with dealing with serious or persistent violations of Commonwealth values and principles. The members are Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Jamaica, Maldives, Sierra Leone, United Republic of Tanzania, Trinidad & Tobago and Vanuatu.

The Group was given an enhanced mandate at the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, in October 2011.